D80 vs. D200

Discussion in 'Photography' started by JohnRice, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Here's the irony. Now that I am not photographing full time, I want to look into a new, reasonably priced DSLR. I know there is a geek or two around here who scour all the camera specs. That in no way refers to you, Sam.

    Here are my requirements. All my lenses are "D" film models, including my 70-180 Micro, which I live and die by, and is no longer manufactured, so it must be fully compatible with them all. Compact Flash would be nice, but let's face it, flash cards are so cheap it doesn't really matter and I already have a universal card reader. A body which could use my ancient SB-25 would be great, but I'm not holding my breath. I convinced my father to keep the SB-600 (I think) he got a few years back, just in case I needed it with a new body. I will still be using pro strobes fairly regularly and need a convenient way to trigger them. Currently I use the SB-25 bounced up and backwards, set manually to minimum (1/64) power. I have a hot shoe/PC adapter to use in a pinch, but I hate being tethered, and the cable always falls out.

    I want the fastest auto focus in existance and every exposure mode known or unknown to man. Oh wait, no I don't. Manual, program with shift, aperture and shutter priority are quite sufficient, thank you. Exposure compensation with 1/2 or 1/3 stop increments as well. This should all be basic stuff with the insane cameras out these days.

    I just want reliable image quality. I will shoot RAW or low compression JPG, and that's about it. I am NOT looking in the price of the D300, regardless of what whizbangs it has. So, I can get a D80 body for about $750 or a new D200 for 1K. In the end, the D200 doesn't seem to have much over the 80, but I don't know what the insane hordes have found wrong with the blooming or whatever freakshow stuff they obsess over.

    I think several of you have a sense for what is a priority with equipment for me. I want to photograph, not play with toys. I do not want to be slowed down by bells and whistles.

    Suggestions?
     
  2. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    John,

    I guess I'm a bit of a "geek", so guess I'll go ahead and bite. [​IMG]

    Only differences I can think of that *might* matter to you are:

    1. The D80 cannot meter w/ non-CPU/manual Nikkors (though you can still use them in full Manual mode).

    2. The D80 does not have fulltime mirror lockup though it does provide a mirror pre-fire mode -- something like ~1/2 sec before actual shutter release.

    3. The D80 uses compressed NEF (ie. slightly lossy compressed RAW) whereas the D200 offers both (slightly lossy) compressed and uncompressed. The lost tonal steps (of compressed NEF) occur in the very brightest highlight region and are essentially invisible to the human eye unless you start playing around w/ the tone curve and pull them down to the more visible region, eg. if you've overexposed the shot and need to reduce the exposure during RAW conversion by maybe 1/2 stop or more.

    4. Yes, there is a banding issue in the D200 sensor (due to its design) that's triggered by sensor blooming (and can be worse in some bodies than others due to sensor calibration and such). However, if you're mainly shooting at
     
  3. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the feedback Man. The Fuji could be an option. This won't be happening soon, but hopefully in the next 6 months. Why is the Fuji hard to find? Low supply?

    Does anyone know how fully, or if, my old SB-25 will work with any of the current bodies?


    Also, just to review, all my lenses are AF-D models. I understand they are all fully compatible with these bodies. Is this correct?
     
  4. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Hmm. Absolutely zero help from Sam.


    some friend. [​IMG]
     
  5. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    John, to complicate (or maybe simplify) your search, Nikon announced the D90 today:

    Nikon | Imaging Products | Nikon D90

    Looks like some of the D3/300 features have crept down to this line, including the great low-noise/high ISO performance & the larger screen. The built-in flash will work as a remote commander for external flash units like your SB-600 (which I don't think is the case with the D80). Of course, there are some new consumer-oriented goodies you may not be interested in, like movies (yes, the first DSLR that takes HD movies) & face-recognition.

    Still, at $1000 for the body, I expect this blows both the D80 & the D200 out of the water.
     
  6. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Holy megapixel Batman! That is a huge monitor.

    So long as it uses my lenses, which I presume it does, that is probably the one to go with. By the time I can do it, it should be available.
     
  7. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Same monitor as found on the D300. Not only is it bigger, but the pixel density is really increased. Excellent readability.

    DPReview already has a fairly comprehensive preview of the D90 up:

    Nikon D90 Hands-on Preview: 1. Introduction: Digital Photography Review

    Looks like another winner from the rejuvenated Nikon. I'm amazed at how fast they're trickling D3 technology down to the prosumer market.
     
  8. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Heh, I remember about 20 years ago being in one of the endless planning meetings I attended at Minolta (Planning Meeting: A meeting, or group of meetings intended to plan for further, larger meetings. We called them "Roundtables" and they lasted a freaking week.) when one of the tech guys came in and said "We're calling this a "Prosumer" camera." I laughed then, and I still laugh now. WooHoo!!! I'm a Prosumer!!!
     
  9. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    John,

    That must be the giddiest post I've seen you make around these parts. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    That new D90 looks like a winner, if the PQ works out just as good as the D300 -- and given Nikon's recent history, it might even surpass the D300 by a little bit in that regard.

    I had recommended to someone else to wait for this to come out by year's end, and I think he will love me for that recommendation now -- wonder if I can get an extra special discount for violin lessons and such. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    _Man_
     
  10. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Sorry John, I havent ventured out of the HD software forum in a few days. The d90 sure looks like a real winner even if you won't be using the movie mode. I'd still personally choose the D300 for my shooting cause I like the crazy AF modes and the heavier duty build (my SB800 took a tumble onto NYC pavement this weekend, not a scratch on it!) but the D90 has a lot of what I really dig about the D300 and a few new things to boot, and it will be interesting to see how the new proprietary 12mp sensor stacks up to the 3rd party one the D300 uses. Plus the reduction in weight is big too, if you like smaller cameras. Again I personally prefer the heft of the D300 but ymmv.
     
  11. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    So, the D90 has been out for a while. Is it turning out to be a winner? I'm still waiting on a purchase. Odds are it actually will happen this year. I inquired with another photo geek I know and he recommended it over a used D200 at slightly more than half the price of a new D90. Whatever I get, I will most likely be using it for several years.
     
  12. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    John,

    The D90 has the better image sensor (mainly for higher ISO settings and lack of the occasional banding/streaking issue if/when you badly blow out significant portions of the image). However, you can now actually get the D200 for quite a bit *less* than the D90. Best Buy sells the D200 for just ~$550 now, so it's the D90 that's actually more than 1/2 the price of the D200 (unless you don't like Best Buy). [​IMG]

    _Man_
     
  13. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Holy smokes, BB does have the D200 for $600 new. Was it closer to $550 recently?

    Some of you have an idea of my uses. High ISO is not a big deal to me. Also, I am unlikely to severely blow out many images. Considering all that, the deal on the D200 seems hard to resist. I may have to take the dive.
     
  14. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Well, that's it. I can't pass up the D200 for that price. It's on its way.

    Done and done. I've spent more than enough money in the last week. Time to stop.
     
  15. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    John, that BB deal was EXACTLY what I was thinking for you when I saw this thread had been bumped! I had forgotten all about this thread but glad to see you found something that meets your needs without breaking the bank! I used the D200 at an event in late 2007 and loved it (plus the D2Xs but thats a different story!), and when the D300 launched with even more than what the D200 had I knew I had to go that direction. But I absolutely would have been happy with the feature set of the D200.
     
  16. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    John,

    Congrats on an excellent investment.

    BTW, I had forgotten to mention this, but you may also prefer that the D200 offers base ISO 100 whereas the D90 (and D300 also) only starts at ISO 200 for base native ISO. Plus AFAIK, the D200 has more backward compatibility than D90 w/ (very) old, manual focusing Nikkor lenses that might interest you at some point, if not yet now.

    _Man_
     
  17. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the info Man. You never know, I might want to use an older lens some day. I haven't really gotten info on whether my old speedlight will work, but I have an SB-600 available if needed.

    Also, do I recall the D90 doesn't have any true uncompressed formats? All in all, I think the D200 is the better way to go, not to mention the outstanding price, and I think I'd rather be working with CF than SD anyway. I'm not sure why.
     
  18. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Yeah, for a serious photographer, I suspect there are other little things that would make the D200 preferable. Not sure what exactly the D90 offers in this area, but the D200 does offer normal mirror lockup as well as mirror pre-fire -- and some of these things can be combined, etc. to be more useful. The D200 may also better dampen mirror slap as well. The overall package should be preferable for a serious photog (outside of the couple issues I mentioned earlier).

    For myself, I do shoot at high ISO often enough (and would like to have better AF capability on occasion), so I'm probably gonna wait til the D300 eventually drops like crazy in price (like the D200) before I buy another body. I dropped my D200 [​IMG] some time ago, and now, it has a hard time engaging (non-AFS) AF lenses w/ its built-in motor. I may send it in for repair at some point, but since I recently picked up a 17-55DX f/2.8 (which has AFS), I'm in less of a hurry to send it in. If I didn't still have my old D70 for backup, I'd be more tempted to pick up another D200 now. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Congrats again, and enjoy!

    _Man_
     
  19. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I'm pretty sure the D200 has creative lighting system master built into its flash and I'm not sure the D90 does. That would allow you to more than just slave your SB600, you can control its exact output and also pair it with more 'sets' of strobes. I have experimented with lighting ratios this way, putting an SB800 on one power setting and my SB600 on another, its fun to experiment with it.
     
  20. Hank_P

    Hank_P Second Unit

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    Let me jump on your bandwagon. I got the D200 when BB first offered it at $600. It is a beautiful piece of equipment. I think everyone has listed the pro-cons for the D200 and D90. The D90 is newer, has better 'higher' ISO capabilities, but we are talking over 800. Staying below 800 ISO is pretty safe. I have been trying to convert from film to digital and it's been fun (and expensive) to get back into a great hobby.

    Since purchasing the D200, I have picked up a Nikon 80-200 f2.8, 50m 1.8, and a SB600 (SB900 coming later). I had a tokina Pro 24-70 2.8 I loved on film, but I need something wider with the DX format. That new lens is on my short list to get.

    Now the meat. I love the D200, am not looking back, nor looking at the "I should have got the Dxx". You can quickly change any setting you need to get the right shot. With the extra money saved on getting the D200, it allows you to get some really nice Glass to attach to it. You will love it, I have no doubt.
     

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